The purpose of this post is to summarize information gathered through discussion and exploration of the Public Land Survey (PLS) records of Wisconsin regarding the 4th principal meridian.

The dates of surveys conducted along the 4th principal meridian were dependent on the treaties and the geography they covered. This resulted in the surveys being done in batches with several years in between.

Most of the survey notes along the 4th principal meridian do not explicitly say they are surveys of the 4th principal meridian; however because they appear in sequential pages in the volumes, it would appear that they are.

The 4th principal meridian is comprised of the east side of the east-most sections of the townships lying directly west of the 4th principal meridian (township XX, range 1W).

Hathaway, Freeman, and Wiltse only surveyed the east edge of the sections while they move north, i.e. only the 4th principal meridian, while Lyon and Sibley seem to record pieces of the 4th principal meridian as the surveyed their way around the entire township.


Township Vol:Pages Surveyor Date
1 2:21-26 LYON, LUCIUS 1832.02.16 - 1832.02.18
2 2:89-94 LYON, LUCIUS 1832.03.25 - 1832.03.28
3 2:172-177 LYON, LUCIUS 1832.03.24 - 1832.04.19
4 6:39-44 SIBLEY, SYLVESTER 1832.04.07 - 1832.04.10
5 7:34-39 LYON, LUCIUS 1832.04.25
6 8:37-42 SIBLEY, SYLVESTER 1832.04.26
7 5:10-12.2 SIBLEY, SYLVESTER 1833.01.09
8 5:32-34.2 SIBLEY, SYLVESTER 1833.03.04
8 88:1-2 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.03
9 88:3-8 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.04
9* 51:17-18 LYON, ORSON 1840.05.05
10 88:9-14 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.05
11 88:16-21 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.07
12 88:22-27 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.08
13 88:28-33 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.10
14 88:34-39 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.11
15 88:40-45 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.13
16 88:46-51 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.14
17 88:52-57 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.15
18 88:58-63 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.17
19 89:1-6 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.19
20 89:8-20 HATHAWAY, JOSHUA 1839.05.20
21 119:1-6 FREEMAN, J E 1845.12.12
22 119:7-12 FREEMAN, J E 1845.12.14
23 119:13-18 FREEMAN, J E 1845.12.15
24 119:19-24 FREEMAN, J E 1845.12.16
25 144:1-6 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.02
26 144:7-12 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.03
27 144:13-18 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.04
28 144:19-24 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.05
29 144:25-30 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.08
30 144:31-36 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.10
31 144:37-42 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.12
32 144:43-48 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.13
33 144:49-54 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.15
34 144:55-60 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.16
35 144:61-66 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.18
36 144:67-72 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.19
37 144:73-78 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.21
38 144:79-84 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.22
39 144:85-90 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.24
40 144:91-96 WILTSE, H A 1847.06.24
41 144:97-102 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.02
42 144:103-108 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.03
43 145:1-6 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.04
44 145:7-12 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.05
45 145:13-18 WILTSE, H A 1847.17.06
46 145:19-24 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.07
47 145:25-29 WILTSE, H A 1847.07.08
* resurvey


A couple of items to note while using the table above:

  • A couple of the southernmost townships have conflicting information as to whether Lyon or Sibley conducted the survey.
  • Survey dates are approximate. For some townships it is just too difficult to determine the date. It appears that surveyors did not just do one township then quit for the day. Sometimes the top of the township (section one) was reached in the middle of the day and they would continue for a few more miles into the next township to the north. Accordingly, dates are approximated as best a possible; usually with the next available date written in the survey notes.
  • Volume 1A is a compendium of all the 4th principal meridian surveys for the townships 1-20. Searching online for the townships, both 1A and other volumes (2, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.) will show up in the results. Both sources should agree with each other, however I have linked to the original notes in the above table rather than the compendium.


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